Leverkusen – LF GmbH & Co. KG, the innovator of a unique liquid friction material brand known as LIQFRIC, announced that it is currently in the pre-series development phase for original equipment manufacturers. In the future (from 2025 / 26), the sustainability of the products will be realized in small to medium-sized production batches for original equipment manufacturers and the aftermarket by achieving energy savings of up to 85 %. Local manufacturing reduces transportation costs and dependence on international markets.
With an alternative manufacturing concept, brake pads can be produced on the presses installed throughout the industry, and thus significant energetic improvements can be achieved in the short term on proven existing manufacturing equipment, but with a lower savings potential in comparison to the non-press method.
Core competence: Development of liquid friction compounds
Launched as a start-up in 2016, the scale-up company has now positioned itself for market entry. The timely realization is to take place after a round of financing with investors. The company’s main focus is sustainability and its mission statement describes the 6 main advantages:
1. CO2 savings
Production-related process temperatures and their sequence within the manufacturing process of the friction pads dictate a high thermal energy requirement for the production of brake pads.
The Multiple heating and cooling cycles for the brake pads and especially the steel backing plates alone require a lot of energy.
Due to low hardening- and process temperatures, up to 85 % of the process energy currently required for phenolic-bonded brake pads can be saved.
In the case of sinter metallic friction pads, this value improves considerably since the process temperatures there are significantly higher.
2. Reduced fine particle emissions (PM10)
A study with a well-known project partner demonstrated that the abrupt increase in emissions of ultrafine particles from inorganic friction materials only occurs at significantly higher temperatures than with phenolic resin-bound materials and that the total emissions can be reduced by up to 35 %.
3. Sensor integration
Due to the systemically high pressures and temperatures occurring in the production of brake pads, it was previously not possible to integrate sensors into the friction pad. The LIQFRIC casting process allows the integration and encapsulation of sensors. This enables a status control feature, and the static and dynamic behavior of brake pads can be analyzed. This also opens up the possibility of monitoring wear status for the first time (preventative maintenance). A large number of sensors can be integrated, including, for example, proof of authenticity via NFC, which can prevent product piracy.
These sensors are the next evolutionary step to enable the Internet of Cars (IoC).
4. Cost savings
On the one hand, the use of energy for the production of the brake pad in large series manufacturing is significantly reduced by the savings in the press hydraulics, the cross-linking temperatures and the process design. On the other hand, the upstream mixing processes require less effort, so overall lower production costs are incurred in the steady state.
5. Weight savings
The average density of the LIQFRIC friction materials is significantly lower than the density of conventional organic pads. This results in geometry-dependent average weight savings of approx. 15 % for a classic pad with a backing plate. The company is currently developing solutions to further optimize these weight savings.
6. Small series manufacturing
Press tools for the production of friction pads and their quick availability are another topic where the LIQFRIC® technology offers advantages. Due to the pressureless manufacturing process, the production of expensive, complex steel-based tools can largely be dispensed with for small series or prototypes. Therefore, prototypical friction linings and their geometric variations can inexpensively be made available in a very timely manner.